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5 Ways to keep your kids reading this summer

Having books available, reading to your kids, and having them read to you and each other will help encourage reading and stop the summer slide.
Having books available, reading to your kids, and having them read to you and each other will help encourage reading and stop the summer slide.
Photo: GlendaJean

It is not uncommon for kids reading level to decrease during summer break. It is so common that it is called the summer slide. Often during summer, kids watch a lot of TV, go on vacation, play outside, go to camp; and these activities aren't all bad. Even though getting a break a from school and the constant go, go, go of school and extracurricular activities is a good thing, taking a break from reading is not such a good thing. There are ways to keep your kids reading this summer without having to coerce them or punish them if they don't read.

1. Read to your kids. Reading a bedtime story is a great way to introduce new books, new vocabulary, or just show kids that reading can be fun! It can be a story book with lots of pictures, or a chapter book that takes them on an exciting adventure. Either way, the kids will enjoy it. An added plus is the example of reading you're giving to your kids. If you do it, they're more likely to do it too. (Don't worry about how well you read. Kids love the attention you're giving them by reading to them. They'll love you for taking the time out of your busy day to spend with them no matter how good of a reader you are.)

2. Join a summer reading club. Many libraries have a summer reading club or program where kids can earn free books and/or prizes for reading over the summer. You don't have to purchase the books either, you can check them out at your local library. (At the end of this article are links to summer reading clubs in the KC Metro and across the USA.

3. Let your kids pick out whatever books that interest them to read. Some kids LOVE comic books. That's okay. Let them read comic books. If they want to read joke books, great! Remember, the key is not so much what they're reading, but that they are reading.

4. Have them write to a pen pal. Having a pen pal can teach so many lessons. Choose someone you know is the same age as your child. If they live in the same town, that's okay; but if they live somewhere else you might be able to get a geography lesson over the summer too! Writing letters is a great way for your kiddo to practice both his writing skills and his reading skills.

5. Model reading. Most adults today spend more time on our phones and tablets than we do anything else. Even though we may be reading, our kids just seeing us playing on our phones. Grab a book, magazine, or newspaper and read every day. Even if it's just for a few minutes. The kids see that mom and dad take time for reading too, and they're more likely to follow the example.

Link for summer reading clubs:

Mid-Continent Public Library

KC Public Library

Barnes and Noble

Scholastic Books

BAM! Books a Million

Book Adventure

Olathe Public Library

TD Bank

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